Tuesday, August 4, 2009
THE SUPREMES - SING COUNTRY WESTERN AND POP
So 1999, I am on holiday in the deep South with my then girlfriend and two friends, our driving holiday had taken us out to Baton Rouge and back round again to the infinitely less fun tourist ridden part of Florida. We spent the day in Tampa, everybody with the exception of me wanted to go to Busch Gardens to ride amongst other things the Spiderman Rollercoaster. I haven't really had any love for ammusement parks since working at Six Flags Great America in the mid 90's. The fact that I was employed to work 'safety' on a rollercoaster after a mornings training kind of put me off ever risking my life to any kind of Final Destination 3 scenario type death... That plus theme parks are gay.
I dropped my travelling chums off in the grey Dodge Dakota that we had been totally destroying with our mad off road antics and did my best to hit the record shops of Tampa. This was back in the days of the Yellow Pages, of hastily scribbled blue biro notes that would trail halfway down your arm.
Anyway, despite a day of wrong turns, fast food and trawling the outskirts of a particularly ugly Florida tourist city I did find a couple of alright shops. And amongst my purchases were a copy of this, 20/20 by the Beach Boys and the soundtrack to Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory (which happens to be a total bitch to get hold of).
Now despite her range I never really had any love for Diana Ross, mainly because I believe her to have played no small part in the eventual suicide of Florence Ballard (former Supreme). Add to that the fact that despite being responsible for some of the greatest soul singles ever to be released, if you actually stand back and look at them the Supremes were nothing but a covers band:
The Supremes play the music of Holland and Dozzier
The Supremes play songs from the hit film Funny Girl
The Supremes - A Bit of Liverpool
The Supremes are Corporate Whore Parrots Live.
Despite, this and entirely due to the curious juxtaposition of a black all girl soul group tackling amongst others Willy Nelson, I snapped this up.
'Sing Country Western and Pop', an example of the above inability to have an original thought came early in the girls' career and with the original line up. No mean feat given that there were infact four hundred different Supremes line-ups. Anyway, I think I played this once and was ultimately unimpressed. Had it not been selected at random last night following a particularly sweaty bike ride It might have waited another ten years, as it is I'm glad I found time to go back to it.
The opener 'Funny How Time Slips Away' is everything it should be as is 'My Heart Can't Take it No More' - A choir of sweet and soulful voices tackling a country style broken heart. The rest of the album is equal parts great, listenable and utterly disgusting, take '(The Man With) The Rock N Roll Banjo Band' for example. It's offensive as a joke about prison-rape and not as funny. But as I said, when the album gets it right, it gets it right and it does that enough of the time to have me go back for a second listen.
I just wish they had been a little bit heavier on the slide guitar.